Who: Seattle Hempfest and the November Coalition
What: Christmas Day Vigil for Prisoners of the Drug War
When: Dec. 25, 2009, 12 Noon to 2 p.m.
Where: King County Jail, 5th Avenue and James Street, Seattle, WA.
Why: To oppose America’s cannabis and drug laws, and to show support for Americans incarcerated for non-violent drug crimes.
Websites: www.Hempfest.org, www.November.org
Vigil to honor Americans arrested for marijuana and non-violent drug use
This Christmas Day
This Christmas Day, Seattle Hempfest and the November Coalition invite anyone with a respectful, peaceful nature to join us from noon to 2 p.m. at the King County Jail to stand in vigil against America’s marijuana laws, and to show our support for those unjustly incarcerated for non-violent drug crimes. We will be respectful and we will increase the peace with our presence. Vigil attendees are expected to be polite, non-confrontational and not to block access or any thoroughfare at any time.
Every Christmas day since 2000, local members of the Seattle Hempfest and the November Coalition have been quietly holding a 2 hour vigil at the King County Jail. The vigil recognizes millions of Americans who have served, or are serving time for non-violent drug charges, the vast majority of whom are incarcerated for simple marijuana crimes.
For the first time in decades there is a national discussion taking place about America’s draconian pot laws. Our failing economy has prompted many to re-examine both the social and financial cost of criminal penalties for marijuana, and awareness about medical marijuana and industrial hemp is growing rapidly.
Still, there are more Americans annually sent to jails and prisons in the U.S. for marijuana offenses than for the crimes of rape, murder, robbery and aggravated assault combined. Americans are routinely denied custody rights of their children based upon casual marijuana use. Those convicted of pot crimes regularly have their assets seized, become branded with a felony conviction, and must live the rest of their lives marked as criminals.
That said, neither of our organizations are anti-law enforcement, we are strictly focused on reforming current laws. We support our first responders, and thank them for their service to our communities. We grieve with our community and wish for healing for all.
We often see violent offenders released early, often going on to commit other serious crimes while billions of dollars are being spent locking up Americans convicted of pot crimes. That just does not make sense. For those who have already served time, or for those currently incarcerated, any potential reform of America’s marijuana policies will come too late.
Be a part of the change.